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Fairfax High School is a public high school in Fairfax, Virginiamarker. The school is owned by the City of Fairfax, but is operated by Fairfax County Public Schoolsmarker as part of a contractual agreement.

The original school building, opened in 1936, is located on Lee Highway (U.S. Route 29) in western Fairfax City, and is currently occupied by Paul VI Catholic High Schoolmarker. Fairfax High School moved to its present site, on the east side of the city, in January 1972. FHS recently underwent a $54 million renovation designed by architectural firm BeeryRio that was completed November 2007. Renovations began in March 2005 and added an additional . of classroom space.


As of the 2008-09 school year, Fairfax High School's student bodyis 46.36% white, 25.00% Asian/Pacific Islander, 14.62% Hispanic, 8.93% black, and 5.10% other.


  • Clarance P. Drayer 1977-1981
  • H. Holsinger 1981-1988
  • Donald Weinheimer 1988-1999
  • Lillian Lowery 1999-2002
  • Linda L. Thomson 2002-2005
  • Scott Brabrand 2005-2009.
  • David Goldfarb 2009-

Test scores

Fairfax High School is a fully accredited high school based on the Standards of Learning tests in Virginia. The average SAT score in 2008 for FHS was 1,596.


In 2008-2009 Fairfax High School was ranked the nation's 131st best high school. It placed 6th best out of nearly 30 schools in Fairfax County, and placed 2nd overall in the Concorde District, only behind Centreville High School. It did, however, beat Chantilly, Oakton, Westfield, Robinson and Herndon high schools, which typically are Fairfax's athletic competitors.


Fairfax's nickname is the Rebels, and the athletic teams currently compete in the AAA Liberty District and Northern Region. The closest high schools to Fairfax are Oaktonmarker (1.9 miles north) and W.T.marker Woodsonmarker (2.4 miles south). The Northern Region was realigned for the 1994-95 school year, with Fairfax being placed in the Liberty District, and Annandale in the Patriot District. Without district competition, the rivalry with Annandale has lessened, and Fairfax's main rival is now nearby W.T.marker Woodsonmarker.

In athletics, Fairfax is probably best known for the strong football teams that it fielded under the guidance of head coach Tom Verbanic. His teams achieved perfect 10-0 regular seasons in 1991, 1998, and 1999. However, the team's greatest success came during the 1994 season. That team achieved a 9-1 record during the regular season, with the only loss being a 17-0 drubbing to rival Annandalemarker in Week 2. Before losing in the state semifinals, the team captured the school's only Northern Region football title, by way of a closely contested 15-14 win over West Potomacmarker. Fairfax's final record in 1994 was 11-2, with the only losses being to teams that won state titles in the largest classifications - Patrick Henry-Ashlandmarker (AAA Division 5) and Annandale (AAA Division 6).

Following the 1999 season, Coach Verbanic left Fairfax to start the football program at the newly opened Westfield High School. Westfield's Director of Student Activities was Francis Dall, Verbanic's college roommate at the University of Virginiamarker. Prior to his current role, Dall was an extremely successful head football coach in his own right at Lake Braddock Secondary Schoolmarker, which had the most wins of any high school in the Northern Region in the 1990s.

Following Coach Verbanic's departure, Fairfax has not returned to the playoffs. To understand how far the program has fallen, one only has to look at the 2007 season, which resulted in a second straight 1-9 record, including being shut out six times and allowing a total of 322 points. By comparison, the 1994 team only allowed 90 points during the regular season, and 153 points including the three playoff games.

Fairfax athletes who have been First Team All-Met selections by the Washington Post, since the 1990-91 school year:

2008-09: Sidarth Balaji & Jason Luu (Tennis)

2007-08: Emily Ferguson (Swimming), Coach Matt Salerno (Girls Swimming), Sidarth Balaji (Tennis), Lauren Palmucci (Tennis)

2006-07: Gina Winters (Soccer), Sidarth Balaji (Tennis)

2005-06: Gina Winters (Soccer)

2002-03: James (Jason) Herbert (Golf)

2001-02: Sean Doolan (Gymnastics, Gymnast of the Year), Ray Hacker (Gymnastics)

2000-01: Matt Johnson (Golf), Coach Mike Personick, Sean Doolan & Ray Hacker (Gymnastics), Adam Jelinek (Soccer)

1999-2000: Brandon Royster (Football), Matt Johnson (Golf), Sean Doolan & Ray Hacker (Gymnastics)

1998-99: Brad Thomas (Football), Coach Milt Papke (Golf)

1997-98: Katie Silverthorne (Field Hockey), Justin Potter (Wrestling), John Eastman (Wrestling, Co-Wrestler of the Year), Inhar Chong (Outdoor Track)

1996-97: John Eastman (Wrestling), Melanie Brophy (Softball), Inhar Chong (Outdoor Track)

1995-96: Chuck Freeman (Baseball), Linda Young (Softball)

1993-94: Heather Schnelzer (Gymnastics)

1992-93: Tina Boyce (Field Hockey), Coach Lisa Burner (Field Hockey) Heather Schnelzer (Gymnastics)

1991-92: Britta Connolly (Field Hockey), Amber Moshos (Field Hockey), Heather Schnelzer (Gymnastics), Earl Smith (Indoor & Outdoor Track)

1990-91: Carrie Hartley (Field Hockey), Katie Gultnieks (Tennis), Mara Cunningham (Basketball), Jamie Dykes (Girls Soccer), Brian Buchanan (Baseball), Bill Pulsipher (Baseball, Player of the Year)

Johnny Reb controversy

The previous mascot of Fairfax High School was a caricature of a Confederate soldier known as "Johnny Reb" (see picture at left). Due to complaints from black students and parents, and at the suggestion of the school’s Minority Achievement Task Force, the principal (H. Holsinger) removed the Johnny Reb symbol in 1985. Student protests, rallies, and a lawsuit followed, which challenged the principal’s actions as violating the First Amendment guarantees of free speech. In Crosby v. Holsinger, 852 F.2d 801 (4th Cir. 1988), the 4th Circuit Court of Appealsmarker affirmed the federal district court decision in favor of the principal. Though the school maintains its nickname of the Rebels, the mascot for Fairfax High is a lion.


The Fairfax High School Choral Department is currently directed by Luke Frels and consists of five ensembles divided by skill level, as well as by the requirement of audition. A beginning group, Women's Concert Choir which is available to freshman women only. Intermediate groups, Men's Ensemble and Select Women's Choir which are made available to men in grades 9-12 and women in grades 10-12. Finally, the two auditioned advanced choral groups, Bel Canto , a group of select women in grades 10-12 and Voce, a selective mixed ensemble for students in 10-12th grades. The choral department also has two extracurricular groups Show/Jazz Choir, and Rebel Treble, a auditioned student-led mixed a Cappella ensemble. Approximately 110 students participate in the Fairfax choirs. Fairfax choral students also participate in District Chorus, Virginia Honors Choir and All-State Chorus, as well as a regional competition trip in the spring. Choral groups perform music of many periods and styles and develop musicianship through vocal technique, sight-reading, and music theory. The choir program holds several concerts over the course of the year, the largest, Spring Show is held in early May and a Cabaret is held in the early winter. In addition to the choral concerts held at FHS, students have performed in the Fairfax musicals, at the Fairfax Festival of Lights, George Mason basketball games, corporate parties, Fairfax Corner, the New York City Festivals of Music, Heritage Festival in Atlanta, Georgiamarker, the Smoky Mountain Music Festival in Gatlinburg, Tennesseemarker and Festival Disney.


Fairfax has a strong band program, including a marching band which has won numerous championships. Included in the Rebel Band is the Fairfax High School Drumline, which placed third in the Atlantic Indoor Association (AIA) championships in North Carolina in 2006. In 2009, they performed in Dayton, Ohiomarker for Winter Guard International and received 4th place in their preliminary group and 18th in semifinals. Overall, they placed 18th out of 60 groups. Other teams that accompany the Band program are the Fall Guard (competes with the marching band) and the Winterguard (competes separately). The Fairfax High School Band is currently under the direction of Ms. Meghan Benson, and won second place at a band competition at the Smoky Mountain Music Festival, in Gatlinburg, Tennesseemarker in the spring of 2008. The Marching Band won third place in the local 4th of July Parade independence Day celebration, and was awarded $2000 in 2008. At the end of the 2008 Marching Rebel season the band received a 1- Superior rating at the VBODA Championships. The Fairfax High School Band Program received a superior rating at both Marching and Symphonic Band festivals making it eligible to receive the award of Virginia State Honor Band for the first time in the school's nearly 90 year history. Because of the work of the Marching Band and Symphonic Band along with the work of the orchestral and choral departments, Fairfax was able to earn the title of Blue Ribbon School for the performing arts, which is achieved by Superior ratings at VBODA state marching festival, and a Superior rating for each of the top performing groups at District Festival. At the competition on their spring trip in the year 2009 to Orlando, Florida, the Rebel band placed second in its class by a margin of less than one point and received the Silver Award Overall in Festival Disney.

In its 2009 season, the Marching Rebels won all of the competitions they competed in and got awards for quality music and general effect. They performed the show called Heroes, Gods and Mythical Creatures and performed at the Herndon USSBA Regionals, the Oakton Classic, and the James Madison University Parade of Champions. The Rebels placed first in Class 3A in the Herndon Showcase of Bands without proper uniforms which were destroyed in a flood due to a heating malfunction, also received first at the Oakton Classic. At the final major competition, the band placed 1st in Class 3A with a score of 84.75. At the VBODA state marching festival the rebels received a superior rating and got straight 1s from all of the judges.


The Fairfax High School Orchestra Department is currently directed by Cynthia Crumb as well as Anna Sengstack. The Orchestra consists of three different levels; Beginning, Intermediate, and Advanced. The Beginning Orchestra focuses on basic elements of music education and teaches the student fundamentals to prepare them and educate them on music. Intermediate is an orchestra designed to test and challenge the musicians at a higher level. And the Advanced Orchestra is the highest level in the Orchestra Department. There are approximately 100 students in the Orchestra program for the enrollment of the 2009-2010 school year. The Orchestra annually participates in District Festival in which the orchestra plays a series of pieces and is graded on them. Often times it is believed that the experience is a competition between schools, but it is highly encouraged that the competition be amongst and within the students. The Orchestra also attends a Spring trip annually to various places in America. Some examples include Atlanta, Orlando, New York, and Gatlinburg. This school year of 2009-2010, the Fairfax High School Orchestra plans to attend Myrtle Beach, South Carolina for their annual Spring Trip. The Orchestra is also known for their pit appearances in school plays such as Beauty & the Beast and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.

In 2008-2009, The Fairfax High School Orchestra, along with the Chorus and Band Department earned the Blue Ribbon Award, which is awarded to a school in which the highest section of each music department receives Superiors at District Festival.


The FX Players is the Drama Club at Fairfax High School. They are dedicated toward the promotion of theatre in every aspect. The current director and sponsor is Wendy Knight.

Fairfax has an orchestra pit that can be covered and uncovered, but it is normally kept in the house floor position due to safety concerns. For the run of The King and I in 2007, however, the pit was opened. It was then closed again, and the orchestra has played at house level since. The members of the pit orchestra are some of the only musicians in Fairfax County to have ever played a musical in an actual orchestra pit (Hayfield Secondary School also has a working orchestra pit). The pit sinks six feet below the stage.

The FX Players won the State Title at the VHSL One-Act Competition in 2008. They placed second at Districts in 2009.

It's Academic

The "It's Academic" team participates in quiz bowl tournaments throughout Virginia, Maryland, and DC, most notably NBC 4's "It's Academic" game show hosted by Mac McGarry. It is currently coached and sponsored by Dave Carr.

The team competes well in tournaments. In January 2009, Fairfax placed second in the Concorde District at the VHSL AAA District Tournament. The team advanced to the regional tournament for the first time in several years. Overall, Fairfax placed third in the Northern Region tying with Langley High Schoolmarker.

Feeder patterns

Daniels Run Elementary School, Willow Springs Elementary School, Providence Elementary School, and Fairfax Villa Elementary School all feed into Lanier Middle School, which feeds into Fairfax High School. Additionally, some students from the listed elementary schools attend Willow Springs Elementary school for the Gifted & Talented Center (often referred to as the GT center). All students continuing with the GT program through middle school who would normally attend Lanier-feeding schools attend Rocky Run Middle Schoolmarker for the Rocky Run GT Center and later attend Fairfax High School.

Notable alumni


External links

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